10 April 2018

Smiles

The Duchenne smile is a genuine smile. It just happens. The corners of the mouth rise and there is a natural contraction of muscles around the eyes. This kind of smile will often precede genuine laughter. It is the kind of smile I like to display and to witness. 

However, as I am sure you have noticed yourself, many smiles we give out and see are false or pretend smiles. They happen when the brain sends out a signal to the mouth to form the familiar smile shape. Then there is no muscular contraction around the eyes.

Such smiles occur in various social situations. For example, we smile when attending job interviews or being introduced to new people. Such moments can be stressful but the smile attempts to mask that stress. It is as if we associate smiles with the best versions of ourselves. This is why contestants in beauty pageants smile all the time.

When I was fourteen, a cricket ball hit me in the mouth and damaged my front teeth. One prominent tooth had to have the nerve removed and by the time I reached my late teens it was no longer pearly white. In fact, it was turning grey.

I was very conscious of it, probably over-conscious, and developed a way of smiling that was unnatural - keeping my teeth hidden from view. I have noticed other people smiling in that way and the usual reason is similar self-consciousness about  teeth. That way of smiling can send out signals that can easily be misinterpreted in a negative way. We all like to see "genuine" smiles.

My grey tooth was fixed a few years ago and it was suddenly a delight to feel confident about my smile.

In my life I have come across people who smile far too much. Not Duchenne smiles but those false or pretend smiles. They can mask so much. Most of these smilers are insecure people who may be under the misapprehension that to be liked or appreciated all you have to do is keep smiling, 

22 comments:

  1. I don't trust people who smile too much. I certainly don't trust Rick when he shows me his teeth.

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    1. A dog "smile" is different. It means, "I want meat!" Best to wear leather trousers.

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  2. Like you were in the past, I still am rather self-conscious about my large and crooked front teeth. I have a rather "horsey" smile, or rabitty, whichever you prefer. Still, that does not stop me from smiling and laughing with my mouth open and my teeth showing. If someone finds the sight too horrid, they can always look away, right? Usually, people don't look away when I smile at them.

    Strange, isn't it, how it became a trend in the fashion industry that models (both male and female) have to look sulky or downright grumpy most of the time. There are few smiles to be seen on catwalks and in "artsy" fashion photographs. I probably would not feel like smiling, either, if I was a) forbidden to eat and b) commanded to wear the daft outfits that go as "fashion" sometimes.

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    1. Ha-ha! Good extra point on sulky models. Perhaps the smile would be a distraction from the clothing.

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    2. That's exactly it, YP. Models are to let the design shine

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  3. I realized not long ago that I smile less than I used to.
    This has nothing to do with my happiness level (which is quite high now that I'm a stress-less retiree) and instead reflects the freedom I now feel to be my authentic self, smiling when I feel happy rather than when others think I should.

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    1. "Smiling when I feel happy rather than when others think I should..." You raise a good point Marty. Sometimes our smiles can be driven by social expectations.

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  4. Seeing the smile on my 20month old granddaughter when I ask her if she'd like a biscuit makes me smile and my heart burst with happiness. We learn how to fake smiles quite early in life,I think.

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    1. Maybe fake smiles are a survival tactic - built into human DNA.

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  5. I refuse to smile! You won't raise a smile out of me! No! No!

    You know I'm kidding! I never cease to be amazed by the amount of serious people around. Those who appear to have forgotten how to smile. They don't realise how much they miss out on.

    One of the many nice things about living here where I do most people aren't embarrassed or fearful of sharing their smiles with others.

    There are some, of course, who couldn't raise a smile - wouldn't know how to - even if Billy Connolly was in their midst.

    A smile, freely given by a stranger warms one's heart as much as a smile from a friend.

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    1. Laughter and genuine smiles are precious but no fakery for me thank you very much. However, a smile - even a pretend one - can be a welcoming signal. Better than having a face like a slapped haddock.

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  6. Interesting info on a rather common type of behavior. Now I was rather disappointed not to see the Pudding smile! How about a selfie? I also learned to smile so that the gap between my front teeth didn't show. The odd kid would ask me why I didn't smile. I always told them , "Watch my eyes. That's where my smile is."

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    1. No way I am sharing a selfie Red - unless you want a selfie of my ass!

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  7. I have never heard of a "Duchenne" smile. That's a new one for me. Maybe I'm bad at distinguishing fake smiles from real ones -- which would be a handicap in social situations, one would think! I'm probably an over-smiler.

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  8. The worst kind of smile for me is when I'm having my photo taken and someone says 'smile', lol
    Briuony
    x

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    1. I bet the photographer none too happy either - when he/she discovers that their lens is cracked.

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  9. I'm more conscious of trying to smile to counteract the "resting b---- face" that I've somehow acquired over the last decade!! I'm not grumpy, at least not most of the time, but unless I'm actively smiling you'd never know it!

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    1. A resting b___ face? I have no idea what the b___ stands for. Banana? Beefburger? Buffalo? It's easy for people to misread the signals isn't it?

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  10. I have a facial palsy left as a residue of my illness and find it hard to form a smile without effort, and even then it looks lop-sided!. I'm often perceived as miserable by those who don't know me, and some are rude enough to tell me so. When one of my boys was small, he stood in my defence and said, "She IS smiling; it's just that it's an inside smile that only special people get to have." Made me feel a million dollars.

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    1. Things are not always as they might first appear. Good on your son for speaking up for his mum.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.